There’s always a top entry at the BDS races but at Fort William 4 weeks out from the World Cup, the start list was truly world class with a fine selection of World Cup winners and World Champions.
The Elite riders were checking out the track ahead of the World Cup weekend (7-8 June if you didn’t already know), racking up the training runs on the longest course on the series.
Come race day, Gee Atherton (GT Factory Racing) took the men’s win, chased hard by Matt Simmonds (Madison Saracen Factory Team) and Marc Beaumont (GT Factory Racing).
In the women’s race, France’s Emmeline Ragot (LaPierre Gravity Republic) pushed Manon Carpenter (Madison Saracen Factory Team) into second, sandwiched by another French rider Morgan Charre (Evil Vengence Tour).
After a relatively mild winter (at least below the top gondola station) and a lot of work by the Nevis Range bike team, the course was running well – fast, smooth and flowing. Apart from the bits that are rocky, gnarly and technical.
The BDS curtain-raiser for the World Cup
Peaty takes weekend off
Steve Peat was in Fort William last week – not for the BDS but for the famous/notorious Scottish Six Days Trial (SSDT), which has tested man and machine in Lochaber since 1909.
Steve has ridden the SSDT on many occasions and this year he finished 112 out of 288. Pretty damn fine we think.
After 6 days of hard, technical riding in some difficult conditions it’s no surprise that he sat out the BDS, checking out the competition and supporting his team.
The SSDT was won by UK trials legend Dougie Lampkin, who just might be coming up for the World Cup weekend. Watch this space.
Salute the Chieftains!
Since 2002 the best mountain bike riders in the world have descended on Fort William.
Since 2002 some of the best crowds in the world have made the annual pilgrimage to Fort William to see their heroes in action.
Together they make an amazing event that has won more than 29 awards and set the standard for the World Cup series.
In these 12 years of racing, the slopes of Aonach Mor and the Nevis Range car park have hosted 55 World Cup winners and 20 World Champions.
We thought it was about time we recognised all of these winners – the Great Chieftains ‘O the Mountain Race.
On the eve of the British Downhill Series we were joined by Gee Atherton, Emmeline Ragot, Katy Curd and Ruaridh Cunningham, to officially launch the 2 commemorative plaques in the Pine Marten cafe.
Photo: Fort William Chieftains in plaque launching mode
Matadors take to the skies
What’s the best way to entertain 8,000+ folk spread all over a mountain as they wait for the Downhill action to begin? How about putting something in the air above them, or even better two things.
Step forward the Red Bull Matadors, a UK based aerial acrobatic team that will be taking to the skies above the World Cup as a curtain raiser for Sunday’s Finals.
Saint Test Track returns
Saint will have a pool of demo bikes at Fort William, with their own dedicated mini DH track just beside the Village. Check in with appropriate ID and deposit (as long as you are over 16) and you can put their latest products to the test on interesting wee course that sets off beside the 4X start.
Major new Park and Ride thanks to Tesco
Parking for everyone coming to the World Cup has filled most available open spaces in and around Fort William, but thanks to support from Tesco, we will be able to deliver a quicker, more efficient Park and Ride system this year.
Tesco are allowing us to use their development site (for a future Tesco Superstore), which is located at Blar Mor on the Mallaig Road.
With easy access off a new roundabout, space for over 800 cars and an improved shuttle we should be able to get spectators from their car to the World Cup quickly and with minimum fuss.
So when you arrive in Fort William, follow the World Cup parking signs for the easiest way to get to Nevis Range.
4X ProTour goes big in Szczawno Zdroj, Poland
The 2014 4X ProTour started with a bang in Szczawno Zdroj is in south west Poland. The track, in the heart of the city, is the pride of the town, lined by hedgerows and trees. At around 40 seconds long, there is a mix of high and low speed, technical and huge jumps. There is something to suit all the riders and the racing is always amazing to reflect this.
In front of passionate local fans, the night-time race produced the usual 4X mix of big jumps, high speed action and audacious overtaking moves.
In the women’s main final, Dana Schwelka (GER) won, riding some great lines and hitting most of the huge jumps. Monika Hrastnik (SLO) took second and Piwowarczyk in third. Plenty of fresh names in women’s 4X ProTour for 2014 and healthy entry numbers were great to see.
There was a surprise in the Small Final when Britain’s Scott Beaumont, after riding great all night, and going from gate 1, appeared to just roll out of the start and coast down the track in last place to give him eighth for the night. After the race he said he had felt ill all night and couldn’t breathe properly – later diagnosed as tonsillitis.
The final race was the big one. Tomas Slavik CZE) took gate 1, Hannes Slavik (AUT) in 2, Lewis Lacey (GBR) in 3 and Michal Prokop (CZE) in 4. Prokop chose gate 4 when 3 was available to him – a tactic to try and swoop inside on turn 1. As the gate dropped, Tomas Slavik got the jump on everyone and did not look back. Prokop finished second, Hannes Slavik in third and Lacey in fourth. A great return for Lacey after a crash here 12 months ago left him sidelined for the 2013 season.
The presentations were capped off by an amazing fireworks display a fitting end to an awesome event and a great start to the 2014 4X ProTour season. Now all eyes turn to the BUFF® 4X Pro Tour at Fort William.
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